Remodeling can dramatically increase the quality of life for building occupants, but if you are considering a remodel strictly as an investment, think twice about it.


Remodeling is rarely a sound monetary investment.

According to a report published by Remodeling Magazine, most remodeling projects add only 60% to 80% of their cost to the home, and no projects, on average, yield any positive return. Home upgrades are thus more accurately described as consumer spending than as true investments, which ordinarily have a decent chance of seeing some kind of profit.

Source: Remodeling Magazine, 2008


% of Cost
Recouped in Resale
deck addition

minor kitchen remodel

bathroom remodel
master suite addition
home office addition
As the report deals only with averages, it is still possible for individual remodeling projects to yield positive returns. A wooden deck added to a mid-range house on the Pacific coast, for instance, will add more value than the construction costs nearly half of the time. Even the most wasteful of the projects analyzed by the study, such as the addition of a sunroom or a backup power generator, are bound to reap a profit in rare instances. Also, remodeling projects are more likely to be profitable in houses that are inexpensive for their neighborhood. But, by and large, remodeling projects should be undertaken to improve quality of life for household occupants, not strictly as monetary investments. While you will lose more than a third of what you put into a family room addition, for instance, maybe your family will enjoy the addition enough to more than counter its expense.

Remodeling is also a cheap alternative to house-swapping, which can cost 10% of your current house’s value to real estate commissions, moving costs, and selling expenses. If your home update would cost less than the costs accrued by house-swapping, or if you can’t live outside your current neighborhood, the remodeling project might be worthwhile. If you do choose to remodel your house, as always, have the project inspected by an InterNACHI inspector.


Remodeling Mistakes

bright yellow kitchenIf you are committed to remodeling in order to add resale value to your home, avoid the following mistakes:

  • upgrading your house in any way that will make it bigger or fancier than most others in your neighborhood, as such remodels are unlikely to add much value;
  • adding pools or spas, as they may repel as many buyers as they attract (dependent upon the region and market.) These upgrades often require maintenance that buyers don’t want to hassle with, and they pose a drowning risk to young children.
  • indulging in your personal tastes rather than aiming to please prospective buyers. Bold statements, such as brightly colored appliances, will repel many buyers.
  • trusting TV shows that are based on the premise that remodeling is a true monetary investment. These shows are successful if people watch them, not if their claims are based in reality. Buying anything at retail cost and hoping to resell it at a profit – especially in the future, when the item or project has become dated – is rarely a winning financial strategy.

Low-Cost Alternatives to Remodeling

home officeReal estate agents often recommend the following fixes, as they are likely to return more than their cost:

  • Refurbish rather than replace. Refinishing or re-facing cabinets is usually less expensive than it costs to replace them. Re-glaze sinks and tubs to extend their lives and avoid the high price of replacing them.
  • Rethink how you use space. While adding floor space may seem like a reasonable way to deal with a space crunch, you can probably achieve the same result by ditching the clutter. An off-site storage unit can be used to free up space in your house.
  • Re-purpose a room. Never use the guest bedroom? Maybe you can turn it into an office or a dining room instead.
  • Paint. Paint can transform the look of a room or house, and it is inexpensive and relatively easy to apply. Hire a professional or do it yourself.
  • Brighten the house by removing heavy curtains, washing windows, and trimming back branches and bushes that cover windows.
  • Deep-clean. Scour your house from top to bottom.
  • Clean up landscaping. Trim bushes and hedges, rake leaves, clear downed branches, plant flowers and replace mulch.
  • Use staging techniques. Rearrange furniture and décor to highlight the positive aspects of the room and create an inviting space. While you can do this one your own, professional staging services are contracted to tweak color and furniture to create an emotional appeal. Consider that a large segment of prospective home buyers will preview homes on the Internet, and staging can dramatically enhance a first impression.

In Summary

unhappy woman remodeling roomRemodeling is frequently a bad investment strategy, and inexpensive alternatives may achieve the same end.

Schedule your Annual Home Maintenance Inspection.

Even the most vigilant homeowner can, from time to time, miss small problems or forget about performing some routine home repairs and seasonal maintenance. That’s why an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection will keep you aware of your home’s condition and help you prevent it from suffering serious, long-term, and expensive damage from minor issues that should be addressed now.

Just as you regularly maintain your vehicle, consider getting an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection as part of the cost of upkeep for your most valuable investment…your home.

Your future deserves the attention of a professional. If you have questions or would like more information on a Home Maintenance Inspection, please contact Micah Stephens with SafeShield Inspections, LLC at (832) 953-6992 or email Micah@SafeShieldInspections.comCLICK HERE for a free quote.



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Nick Gromicko, InterNACHI Founder
Nick Gromicko is the founder of InterNACHI®, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, based in Boulder, Colorado. InterNACHI® is the world’s largest association of property inspectors — with one of the largest websites on the Internet at — offering education, training, benefits and support to its members to help them succeed in the home inspection industry.


Mr. Gromicko also serves as executive director of the Master Inspector Certification Board, which awards qualified property inspectors the title of Certified Master Inspector®, the industry’s highest professional designation.